Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Projects are delaying FAHI museum move
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A few more projects — and the money to complete them — have temporarily stalled the relocation of the Fayette Area Historical Initiative’s (FAHI’s) Museum and Cultural Center.
Curtis Millner Sr., chairman of the FAHI board, said the agency was set to reopen in the former Imperial Savings and Loan Association Building at 211 Fayette St. this week.
FAHI bought the building last year to house its African American Museum and Cultural Center, which now is in a building on Main Street. About half the $35,000 cost of the building was paid from community donations/organizations, with a promissory note used to finance the rest, Millner has said.
FAHI members and volunteers have been raising funds to pay operating expenses and for renovations to bring the building up to current codes and make it handicap-accessible, Millner said. He also noted the group hoped to be in the new building by Wednesday.
“We pushed that move off until September because of more problems we found in the building that need to be repaired,” Millner said Monday.
Issues include the cost of supplies and paying a licensed electrical contractor to install “‘Emergency Exit’ lights at all of the exits,” Millner said.
Some Sheetrock, damaged by rain after vandals stripped the gutters from the building months ago, also must be repaired, he said.
“We’ve replaced the gutters but found that the drain is plugged,” Millner said, noting that must be fixed as well.
A counter in the front portion of the building, formerly used by tellers, was moved as part of the renovation.
Millner said FAHI members then realized the flooring would have to be replaced. Currently, the group is considering whether tile or carpet will be the most economical replacement. One of the doors to the building also must be replaced, but Millner said the necessary supplies are on hand.
“We’re just waiting” for the installation, he said.
Volunteers and donations from the community have helped ready the building for its new future, and the organization has undertaken several events to help raise funds for the renovation, Millner said.
“We are making slow progress (on fundraising). It’s not as well as it should be,” Millner said.
The amount needed to continue the renovation effort is not known at this point because FAHI is waiting on estimates, he said. Any funds raised over the amount needed to complete work may be used to pay operational costs, he has said.
Millner stressed that the building not only will house the museum, but also serve the community in a number of ways.
For instance, FAHI plans to use some space for tutoring that will be available free of charge to youngsters in Martinsville and Henry County, as well as provide a meeting place for groups, Millner said.
When opened, the new building also will serve as meeting space for the Martinsville Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Martinsville & Henry County Voters League, Millner said.
“Plans are also under way for the museum to offer some new items for viewing from a well-known Martinsville collector of historical artifacts,” Millner said, declining to elaborate.
To contribute or donate time or materials, contact Millner at 638-7503.
Any contribution is appreciated, he said, and all donations are tax-deductible.